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  1. #1
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Bike Flipping 101

    Do we need a "Bike Flipping 101" thread/stickie in the Valuation sub-forum?

    Several threads recently are along the lines of: "I want to buy a bike to ride now and flip later so is this a good bike for that and if not then what should I look for and how do I know if a bike is a good bike to buy and flip".

    I'm thinking maybe a generic, non-specific, generalized steps or process to select and then tune or repair and then price a bike. Probably pretty much the same comments that are already posted as replies to some of the current threads, but consolidated into one thread to direct people towards.

    I'm not really a flipper, been keeping most of what I've found, but I have sold a couple of bikes over the last year or so, but "flipping" isn't my personal primary motivator. But I can see where some might see this as a way to make the hobby somewhat self supporting financially, "somewhat" being the operative word there.

    Thoughts, comments, flames, other?

  2. #2
    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    Some people make a living doing this... Ummmm.
    And I Like it.
    Vinny - Menotomy Vintage Bicycles - OldRoads.com
    BUY/SELL forum (no fees) - Price Guides - 19 years of archives

  3. #3
    Senior Member oldroads's Avatar
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    - When buying, look for original and complete bikes.
    - Avoid housepaint.
    - Avoid bikes missing parts; sometimes they are missing the most expensive or hardest-to-find parts.
    - Don't overpay. Wait for a good deal.
    - When you find a good deal, be sure to have the cash and the storage space
    - Collectibles are down, riders are up
    Vinny - Menotomy Vintage Bicycles - OldRoads.com
    BUY/SELL forum (no fees) - Price Guides - 19 years of archives

  4. #4
    Gone World Hepster 23skidoo's Avatar
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    I think a sticky thread on flipping is a great idea for a place where flippers and wannabe flippers can share tips on what they do and how they do it. As for flipping as a way to a self-supporting bike habit I don't see that as a realistic goal. I flipped around 25 bikes in the last year and each and every one of them was considerably improved and immaculately cleaned. You can buy cheap, be careful about what you buy, know your target market--I live in a city with a large university so a good share of my flippers went to students--stockpile parts, buy cheap but decent parts when you need to but in the end any hope of really making a profit goes directly to the term 'opportunity cost' from Econ 101, i.e. could the time you spend on your flippers have been invested more profitably elsewhere. For me its a hobby and an avocation but my wife, who is a wonderful person but far too mercenary in this respect constantly harps about me not recovering the cost for my labor, Pedro's bike wash, chain lube, Phil Wood waterproof grease, the rags I wash in our washer and dry in our dryer, the solvent I use to clean up dead and damaged parts so the recycling dude will pick them up at our curbside dropoff, and generally ignores me when I say 'but honey it's a hobby fer chrissakes, would you rather have me collecting Corvettes and chasing hookers?'
    77 Trek TX300--78 Trek TX-300--79 Trek 510--83 Trek 520--83 Nickel Plated Trek 400--86 Trek Elance 400--75 Gitane Interclub--73 Viscount 'Death Fork SS--76 Viscount Aerospace Pro--80's Diamant Verbinnen--80's Basso--90's Montagner SS--84 SR Explorer MTB

  5. #5
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I don't know if it would be limited to flipping, but some guidelines for someone who's shopping for a bike that may, or may not need to be fixed up would seem useful.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  6. #6
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    Buy low, sell high.

    Neal

  7. #7
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    'but honey it's a hobby fer chrissakes, would you rather have me collecting Corvettes and chasing hookers?'
    That's what I keep saying. And I justify money spent on the fact that I'm saving gas money and wear & tear on my car by riding to work a lot of the time (as opposed to her scrapbooking habit which is expensive and we get nothing back monetarily).

    I kind of think price guidelines would be good, if ony to see if you're in the balpark. For instance, mid-80s Schwinns come up frequently; maybe put up a list of the lineup and what examples would typically cost in the range? And maybe the same thing with other brands? I'm not thinking of a database or anything, but as a model gets discussed, add the consensus of its value to the first post of the stickied thread (including the date of "appraisal")? Oh, and the back end and front end: 1984 Schwinn World Sport: Expect to buy at $10-20, Expect to sell for $40-60 after refurb, or something like that.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  8. #8
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Hmm...............

    Values?
    Techniques as far as wrenching, rehab, cleaning, troubleshooting?
    Wheeling, dealing, negotiating part?

    For values we have the Vintage Value sub-forum.
    For techniques, we have this forum.
    For the ugly money side,....maybe Flipping 101 would be good.

    I'd just hope the cross-pollenation helps me find what I'm looking for, not make it harder.
    Last edited by RobbieTunes; 01-05-09 at 12:28 PM.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
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  9. #9
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    +1 Make it a sticky.
    While you're at it, enact a rule prohibiting value inquiries for anything made after 1997.

    -Kurt

  10. #10
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    +2 Make it a sticky.

    My rules on fixing and flipping:

    1. Assume you're going to have to replace tyres and tubes. Budget a minimum of $40.00 for that operation.
    2. Plan on tearing the bike down to the last nut and bolt, re-greasing everything, and reassembling.
    3. Don't expect to make money on your labor. If you've come out ahead after initial purchase (purchase?) and parts, you've made money.
    4. Don't upgrade anything, unless you're planning on fixing the bike for personal use.
    5. Used parts rule. The guy who run the re-cycle bicycle shop is your best friend.
    6. Take any bike that isn't a WalMart bike - if it's free. Even if it's in wretched shape, it can be used to build up your replacement parts stock. And the frame can always be sold to someone who wants to build a fixie.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  11. #11
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post
    +2 Make it a sticky.

    My rules on fixing and flipping:

    1. Assume you're going to have to replace tyres and tubes. Budget a minimum of $40.00 for that operation.
    2. Plan on tearing the bike down to the last nut and bolt, re-greasing everything, and reassembling.
    3. Don't expect to make money on your labor. If you've come out ahead after initial purchase (purchase?) and parts, you've made money.
    4. Don't upgrade anything, unless you're planning on fixing the bike for personal use.
    5. Used parts rule. The guy who run the re-cycle bicycle shop is your best friend.
    6. Take any bike that isn't a WalMart bike - if it's free. Even if it's in wretched shape, it can be used to build up your replacement parts stock. And the frame can always be sold to someone who wants to build a fixie.
    I'll take a free Walmart bike - if the cables, housings, chain, tires and tubes are good. They are a good source for consumables.

    I think the number 1 rule for flipping is "know your market". You need to know what the junker you're looking at will sell for, so that when you calculate the cost involved with replacing parts (labor HAS to be counted as free, as others have said) you actually make a buck or two.
    Last edited by bigbossman; 01-05-09 at 11:10 AM.
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  12. #12
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm not making any money but I'm not losing much and I've gotten to try out a wide variety of bike and get to know them. I've found a few keepers in the process and if I ever get all of this stuff out of the basement, I might be back in the black.
    I have spoken.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bibliobob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
    Hmm...............

    Values?
    Techniques as far as wrenching, rehab, cleaning, troubleshooting?
    Wheeling, dealing, negotiating part?

    For values we have the Vintage Value sub-forum.
    For techniques, we have this forum.
    For the ugly money side,....maybe Flipping 101 would be good.

    I'd just hope the cross-pollination helps me find what I'm looking for, not make it harder.
    +1. No need to re-create the wheel.

    The core knowledge is covered elsewhere (values, repair, etc,), but a thread on tips for being a good seller (with an emphasis on being effective, honest, ethical, and useful) might be a good idea, if anyone wants to start one.

    BTW, word on the street is that Robbietunes just had a birthday.

    Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you had a good day and squeezed in a nice ride.
    I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

    '53/'54 Bianchi CDM, late '50s Vic Edwards faux Peugeot, '62 Frejus, '62/63 Cinelli SC, '62ish Altenburger Cinelli Mod B, '72 Motobecane Grand Record, '72ish rose Cinelli SC, '73-74 Colngao Super, '74 Masi GC, '78 faux Confente, '82 Medici Gran Turismo, '85 Eddy Merckx, '57 Replica De Rosa, late '80s Andy Gilmour, KOF Velo Orange Randonneur

  14. #14
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    If you asking if somethings flippable you shouldnt be flipping.

    1. NO rust.
    2. Complete bikes are a must.
    3. Know your product.
    4. Know your market.
    5. Be prepared to lose money on some bikes.

    I have drasticly different prices I'm willing to pay based on the quality level of the bike. Certain bikes I avoid like the plaque. Those would be all mountain bike and all non-bike store bikes. I also avoid anything from the last 10-15 years as they're a dime a dozen and not very collectible.

    One of the most important things I consider is parting out value. If my 'flip' turns into a 'flop' can I part it out and recoup my money? Some bikes I buy with the sole intention of parting out.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  15. #15
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    While you're at it, enact a rule prohibiting value inquiries for anything made after 1997.

    -Kurt
    +1000. There's one reason and one reason only that all the value inquires get dumped into C&V. Its called snobbery and laziness in RC.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  16. #16
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    ...... As for flipping as a way to a self-supporting bike habit I don't see that as a realistic goal....
    ALL the bikes I've built and currently ride have been financed by flip money. All of them.
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

    S. J. Perelman

  17. #17
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    As for flipping as a way to a self-supporting bike habit I don't see that as a realistic goal.
    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    ALL the bikes I've built and currently ride have been financed by flip money. All of them.
    I keep very diligent records of my flipping on an Excel spredasheet. Everything I spend is entered including gas money, spare parts and if I use a part from one bike on another. My shipping costs, both actual and charged are calculated as well. (I make a 'profit' on shipping which covers my ebay/paypal and packaging expences. I've spend over $50 on packaging tape since August!!!) Its setup with a variety of formulas so all I have to do is enter a value and a +/- number appears to tell me if I'm in the red or black.

    To defray costs I order tires, cables and bearings in bulk. I was previously paying upwards of $20 for an entry level Michelin 700c tire whereas buying in bulk I'm getting them for ~$9.50ea.

    While I'm not going to say what my pure profits have been since I started flipping in August I will say its mid 4 figures and I have still have a sizeable inventory on hand as I'm stocking up for the spring time.

    Some basic guidelines:

    1. Tires: Figure $12-20 each if your buying them local plus $5 each for inner tubes. I order mine from www.biketriresdirect.com and only buy the least expensive tire I can find.

    2. Cables: Figures $4 each with lined housing. Surprisingly my LBS has a lined Pyramid brand for $5 which is reasonable. I've ordered 50ft. rolls of black lined and stainless steel housing from www.loosescrews.com for roughly the same cost as the LBS set albeit the loosescrewsstuff is higher quality.

    3. Bar tape. $8-10. I'm still looking for a $5 source.

    4. Seats. $15-20 easliy for a basic model.

    One could easily drop $60 in the blink of an eye on basic 'wear' items.

    As an example, in my market, Tampa, I can sell a basic lugged steel LBS brand bike for $150-$225 all day long. Knock $60 of the top of those prices and your looking at $90-$165 as maximum paying prices to break even. I try to make $100 on any complete bike I sell so factoring that in I'm looking to spend $50-75 max on a basic luged steel LBS bike.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  18. #18
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    +1000. There's one reason and one reason only that all the value inquires get dumped into C&V. Its called snobbery and laziness in RC.
    I haven't kept tabs on which threads have been moved or not (why are they not marked "moved" in the forum they are sent to - not the ones they were moved from?), but regardless of how many may be moved from RC, I would not rule out the possibility of a general group of Numbskulls posting modern bikes directly to the VVI subforum out of lazy convenience.

    -Kurt

  19. #19
    Si se Puede!!!....Ahuevo! gr23932's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
    ALL the bikes I've built and currently ride have been financed by flip money. All of them.
    +1 All of my bikes have been literally free and have helped us finance some of our vacations. I'm a bit different that I've had access to bikes that have brung in alot and which I've spent almost nothing. I doubt I will do as good once I'm stateside.

    +1 Sticky
    Ese dicho que me han dicho que tú has dicho que yo he dicho, ese dicho no lo he dicho, porque si lo hubiera dicho, ese dicho estaría bien dicho por haberlo dicho yo.

  20. #20
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    Buy cheap tires and tubes...Make no adjustments or tuning...Sell for three times the price.

  21. #21
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    3 flips: +1030, and they were flipped for precisely that reason...offers I couldn't refuse.

    5 flips: about even, but all 5 entered the sport and are still in it.

    4 flips: -300 or so, to pretty girls and BF members...I'm easy, and I simply bought too high.

    So, am I up $700? Nope.
    I'd say I'm down about a grand or so,

    Here's why:
    1983 Turbo
    1984 Lemans RS
    1985 Prestige
    1986 Ironman
    1987 Ironman
    1988 Ironman (2)
    1989 Ironman
    2003 Marin
    2004 GT saddleback
    2005 Airborne Ti
    and I'm sure there's still a couple or six Centurions I just gotta have.

    Flipping does help, though. I'm passive about it.

    I need to get active, though: 2006 Kestrel Talon full DA 10-sp is lurking on my "to pay for" list. Looks like George Jetson's bike.

    Hey, it happens.......

    I'd be glad to see a Flipping 101.
    1-tricks and tips for a quick and cheap physical turnaround.
    2-when to fold 'em, or hold 'em.
    3-how do folks like BBM turn them around so quickly and so nice looking? stuff like that.
    Last edited by RobbieTunes; 01-05-09 at 01:00 PM.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
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    1995 Hot Tubes TT
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    1997 Kestrel 200SCi
    1998 Kestrel KM 40 Airfoil
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    2006 Cinelli XLR8R-2
    2013 Eddy Merckx EMX-3

  22. #22
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
    Buy cheap tires and tubes...Make no adjustments or tuning...Sell for three times the price.
    +1
    I use take-off tires, try not to spend more than $10 per tire, and I'm back to patching tubes.
    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    You will not believe how fast I used to be...

    1979 Centurion Semi Pro
    1982 Lotus Classique
    1985 Cinelli Equipe Centurion
    1985 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra
    1987 D'Arienzo (Basso)
    1995 Hot Tubes TT
    1995 Trek OCLV 5500
    1997 Kestrel 200SCi
    1998 Kestrel KM 40 Airfoil
    2004 Quintana Roo Kilo
    2006 Cinelli XLR8R-2
    2013 Eddy Merckx EMX-3

  23. #23
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    I was going to say the same buy low sell high that nlerner posted. One other wisdom I can think of is part it out! Bikes are almost always worth more in pieces than whole. I have made almost twice as much on the parts than selling complete bikes.

    I have kept accurate records of bike purchases/flippers/part outs in a few Excel spreadsheets and old fashion paper. I have three excel spreadsheets for the bike "business". 1)ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE=what I paid for every single bike I have purchased (140 bikes as of now) 2)SOLD-two separate sheets on the same excel problem. First sheet is frames/forks or complete bikes sold with price it sold for, what it cost me to build, and profit plus date sold. the second sheet is parts with the same sold for, cost, profit, and date sold. The third sheet is all of those numbers added up by month for bikes/frames/forks and parts in separate entries. 3)CUSTOMER LIST with name, what they bought, and email address. It is handy for refreshing my memory if a previous customer is looking for another bike for themselves or friends or just parts I can recall what they bought previously. For the actual calculations of the cost to build up a bike after an overhaul I use old fashion paper in a three ring binder. I make a list of all of the parts and costs associated with making it rideable again. I only list the new stuff I add (bar tape, tires, tubes, cables, housing, etc.) not used parts I use from the parts bin. I also make parts lists when I part out a bike of the parts that came from that bike so when they are sold I can enter the numbers and figure how much profit I made parting it out.

    If you really really want to be a flipper you need lots of cables, housing, bar tape, tires and tubes and to get them cheap. I work at a shop so I restocked my cables and housing this summer with the 50m rolls of housing and 100 count boxes of cables. For tires, tubes, and bar tape you can often find deals on Nashbar or Performance when they put stuff on sale with an additional 10-20% off coupon. When they do stock up! The last time I stocked up with a few hundred dollar order I bought 20+ tires, 10 things of bar tape, and 20+ tubes. You also need the know how and all the required tools to do it which can be expensive on their own.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post

    3. Bar tape. $8-10. I'm still looking for a $5 source.
    I buy Ambrosio bike ribbon from PBK, $2.21 a set, delivered. It is very easy to wrap, and looks good, too. It doesn't come with plugs, but is plenty long for even the biggest bars.

  25. #25
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    I keep very diligent records of my flipping on an Excel spredasheet. Everything I spend is entered including gas money, spare parts and if I use a part from one bike on another. My shipping costs, both actual and charged are calculated as well. (I make a 'profit' on shipping which covers my ebay/paypal and packaging expences. I've spend over $50 on packaging tape since August!!!) Its setup with a variety of formulas so all I have to do is enter a value and a +/- number appears to tell me if I'm in the red or black.

    .....
    My eyes just glazed over.

    I just do this as a hobby and because I like bikes. It'd be nice to make four figures a quarter doing it, but right now I'd be happy making three figures if it keeps air in my tires. What you'd be willing to pay for a bike is almost what finished flipped bikes tend to go for up here. My limit on flip-fodder is under $30 for a generic bike if it is in reasonable condition. One of the primary local resellers of used bikes is currently down to around $80 for his ready-to-ride bikes and under $30 for his kids bikes. Of course it is currently below 30degF outside and we had freezing rain over the weekend and people are walking on water up here currently to do their lake fishing (ice fishing), so locale definitely is a major factor in what to pay and what something will sell for.

    And a quote from one of the value threads that got me to start this thread:
    I am going to hit garage sale season hard when it starts up. Thrift stores around here literally never have anything!
    To this I will simply say that sometimes they don't have anything, and sometimes someone else got there before you. Usually, decent bikes don't sit long on a thrift shop sales floor.

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